Ex-Speaker unfazed by disqualification move

SHILLONG, Dec 1: AITC State president and former Speaker, Charles Pyngrope appeared unfazed by the move to disqualify the 12 legislators who “merged” with Mamata Banerjee-led party and the legal experts’ views on the matter. When this reporter approached him on Wednesday, he exuded confidence of winning the legal battle saying that “I know the rules and I have studied the tenth schedule very carefully”.
He overruled the legal interpretations by “experts” saying that the law “clearly indicates that if any political party merges with another entity and does so with two-third of the strength of the party in the particular house then the anti-defection law does not apply to them.”
Regarding the congress claim that two-third majority is the only parameter under the tenth schedule, Pyngrope said, “ the only parameter is within the house” which means in any particular legislature you have to have two-third (majority) to merge with any party. That is simple and clear”. He added that if there is any travesty of justice then the issue would have to be adjudicated in the court.
Upholding the rights of the Congress to complain to the Speaker, he said “As a political party as the congress has filed a petition for disqualification I think they have the right to do so because the provisions of the constitution allows them legally (to do so) but I know they will not win the battle,” he asserted.
Replying to a query that the AITC is riding on the shoulders of top poll strategist Prashant Kishore to win the electorate battle in the State, Pyngrope said, “As far as AITC and Prashant Kishore are concerned they are two different identities. They have come together to pull in their resources and create a formula where the AITC will be acceptable not only in the State of Meghalaya but in the entire north east and the rest of the country and that is the primary objective of the Prashant Kishore”.
On reservations expressed by many on whether Kishore’s strategy will actually work in the State considering the fact that the state has a huge tribal population, Pyngrope said, “Contrary to what people are saying it even worked in West Bengal which has a large population of tribal people in fact the entire Darjeeling district where I was born is full of tribals. The question of being a tribal state or not does not hold any water”.
Talking about the way ahead to strengthen the roots of the TMC in the State, Pyngrope said, “I will have to build the team first which will take a week or ten days and after that I will lay out the strategy on which we will be working to strengthen the party in the State and to ensure that we have the full backing of the electorate”.
Evading the question on how the AITC would ensure a majority in the 2023 Assembly polls, Pyngrope said, “All these will unravel very soon. In the meantime we will be building a good team which will be working together and not have a dictatorial head but a very balanced person in the team who will work together bring the ideas together and take it out to the public”.
“You will have to give more time and I am sure in days to come I will be able to brief in detail the exact formula which we will be using and disclose to the people for us to be a major force in the political arena of the state,” he added.
He chose not to disclose his main reason for joining the AITC for the moment but however said, “I like to keep the people guessing for some time. We will all come out (with all facts) very shortly because the people of Meghalaya need to know the reasons why we decided to part ways with the congress”.
He underlined that ideologically congress and AITC are same. “If you go back you will notice that most of the leaders who have left the congress their ideologies and way of thinking are very similar, secular and pro-people. therefore when you join or merge with a party with similar policies it really does not give the impression that you have left the party”,” he added.

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